Google is once again in the news– this time for taking over ‘Where is my Train’ – an app which is improving the lives of millions of Indian passengers by providing real-time information on the status of trains—from Sigmoid Labs a Bengaluru-based startup, which developed the app. As of now some 10 million people in India have downloaded — Where Is My Train — the highest rated travel app in India, which also provides seat availability and PNR status.
The beauty behind the “Where is my Train” — a unique train app is that it displays live train status and up-to-date schedules. The app can function offline without needing Internet or GPS. It is packed with useful features such as destination alarms and speedometer. It needs cell tower information to search for the train’s location.
According to speculation in the market, Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi too wanted to invest in Sigmoid, while Google had initially offered to buy Sigmoid for around $30-40 million.
Sigmoid Labs, the company which developed the Where Is My Train was founded by four former TiVo executives in 2013 and now has around 10 staff members. The app compares favorably with RailYatri and iXigo.
While the exact nature of the Google-Sigmoid Labs deal is a closely guarded secret, it is understood that as part of the deal the Sigmoid Labs team behind the “Where is my train” app, would join Google to be able to use better technology and help more people.
Google’s recent strategy has been to target users in India, Indonesia and Brazil, through selective bets and strategic investments in promising start-ups. Google’s first direct investment in India was in Bengaluru-based personal concierge app Dunzo for a sum of $12.3 million. Last year Google acquired Halli Labs – a Bengaluru-based artificial intelligence startup.